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FAA Authorizes Flight-Time Reduction for ASU Program Grads

Graduates of the flight-training program at Arizona State University Polytechnic can now be hired as airline co-pilots with 1000 hours flight time vs. 1500 hours. ( More...

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preacher1 2
Well, the one thing that most all will agree on is that the 1500 hr rule was congressional pressure, a knee jerk reaction to a group of people having a specific agenda, that had not looked at all the data, or at least it was not considered. There was good rulemaking on the REST part of things but even that was flawed by doing it from an economic standpoint, rather than need, or else the cargo folks would have been included also. They are as human as the rest of the folks. At any rate, it is all out there now and folks are going to have to live with it and try and make some changes. We may not be to the point of acute shortages right now but we are seeing the beginning and the shortage will come. It may get band-aided and stop gapped for awhile but at some point and time, immediate major surgery will be required and we'll be right back to a point of beginning.
PhotoFinish 2
The UPS crew met the new rest rules, and still crashed. It's hard to work the night shift. No amount of rest rules changes human physiology.
preacher1 2
Night shift workers overall have that problem. There are some that can deal with it and some not. There are some that try and maintain a daytime lifestyle and can and some that can't. There are some that can throw daytime out the window and go fine on continual nights and some that can't. This is one that will go on forever as it can't be easily regulated just by numbers. It is individual physiology and is going to have to be dealt with on an individual basis. Cargo pretty much has to move at nite while day shift sleeps and that won't ever change.
preacher1 1
Well, there is not going to be an easy answer, and both you guys are right as will probably be the next person that chimes in here with an idea. 1st things 1st, whether they should be or not is irrelevant, but the way the rule reads, a 1500 hr FO that has never seen anything bigger than a C-421 could conceivably be tagged as Captain on an ERJ-175, as far as FAA requirements go. Myself, I'd rather have a lower time FO in the right seat to train than I would have a 1500 wonder that had just flown a pattern or drug a banner for that time.

Most regional airlines are on a full seat contract from the major, so their biggest problem is just going to be having enough pilots to man what they have and stay within costs. While those full seat contracts are nice, they are bid/awarded at a fixed price and if costs are not kept in line, then they have a problem. The majors are going to have to recognize this and allow a pass thru of those contract costs or those contracts will wind up unfulfilled.

The FAA has already done some relaxing of the 1500 hour rule for various colleges. Airlines are going to have to set up training of some kind, and for those maintaining private training, loan money is going to have to be made available through the Student loan Act rather than all thru private financing that cannot be effectively serviced by the expected job, of which there is no guarantee that they will get anyway.
PhotoFinish 2
A few different points.

1. If needed, the airlines should be able to set up their own training programs, that take a young good pilot with good skills but not a lot of experience and put him or her through a rigorous FAA-approved training program to throw'm into a right seat apprentice program much, much earlier than 1500. Of course the airline would pick up most/all of the training expense in exchange for several guaranteed years of flying.

2. A big problem with seething up these training programs is that US majors now use regional airlines to provide their for low-cost flying needs. They hire the starter pilots, but don't have the money to set up these training programs.

3. The higher cost of hiring more experienced 1500 HR pilots will be passed along to the majors, when each contract comes up for bid again. All regionals will have higher costs so their bids will br higher, and the mainlines will have to pay more.

4. Immediately many regionals are experiencing severe pilot shortages and are just parking some of their least efficient fleets. They don't have the pilots, and these contracts don't provide enough money to hire new pilots at the new going rate. So they've been notifying their mainline partners that they're not able to fly all the promised aircraft.

5. Lastly and most importantly, nite that in some recent airliner crashes the pilot-flying captain had few hours on type.

The Colgan captain was pilot flying and PIC but only had 110 hours on the Dash-8 Q400, all as a captain.

The Asiana captain was pilot flying with only about 35 hours on the 777, all as captain. The instructor pilot was PIC.

Why not make each pilot work as a copilot for the first 250 on each new type with an experienced pilot in the left seat with lots of experience and who know the plane well.

After 250 hours of copilot pay, they can go back to being a captain, but a more appropriately confident one.

Every plane is different. They may all be governed by the same laws of physics, of which gravity not being the least important. But not only are the flight decks different from type to type, the way each plane handles varies also. Plus all those checklists will also differ from plane to plane.

Being familiar with a plane is important. The higher ranking captain should not be so inexperienced that they should have to lean on the co-pilot as a crutch.
PhotoFinish 0
"The FAA has given about 35 other schools permission to certify graduates with 1,000 or 1,250 flight hours, according to an administration database."

There was a need to create some nuance to the new regulation.

There may be a more changes that may have some more categories of pilots or planes eligible with fewer than 1500 hours and greater than the previous 250.

Maybe keep 1500 + ATP for captains, and allow lower limits for co/pilots in tiers for 25-49 passengers, and 50-74 passengers, plus 75 pasengers and up, with 1,000 1,250 and 1,500 hour requirements for each tier respectively. For the lowest tier 10-24, which is just above part 135, could also have substantially lowered hours for co-pilots, maybe 500.

Every flight with 10 it more passengers would still have a 1500+ hr ATP captain, with commensurate pay. The co-pilots would have experience requirement tiers that would correspond with their level of responsibility. Pay would step up as their experience steps up.

This compromise would provide a way for pilots to get their experience; good experience. Also provides airlines a way to get co-pilots for their smallest planes.

Without such a compromise, many of the smallest planes that require 2 1500 ATP pilots will stop flying, and those small cities/ airports that they serve will stop getting commercial airline service.

Smaller jets will continue to be replaced by similar capacity turboprops no matter what. But this smallest turboprops with few seats will just not be able produce enough revenue to pay for 2 ATP 1500 hr pilots, as the wages for pilots with that level of experience will go up, even more rapidly without the creation of the tiers suggested above. With tiers the change will be more gradually and create less disruption.

Without tiers the change will be sudden, causing much disruption. Many pilot jobs will disappear, plus many other supporting jobs. Also many smaller airports will lose service, which in many cases will never come back (even if the rules are later relaxed after the fact).
Mark Kowalski 1
It is too bad the captain of the Colgan flight caused the drastic rule change for prospective FOs. I just can't wrap my head around it. While I agree with all that the rule itself is severely flawed but the premise was somewhat sound. A 250 hour pilot should not be jumping into a high performance jet/tprop with complex systems, avionics, regulations, and operational procedures. I cant believe that the rule makers looked at the data, what they probably didn't, and concluded that FO's are the problem and need to be trained better. 1500 hours is too low time for someone to captain an aircraft with unknown souls aboard not enough overall experience IMO.

I see the tprop market diminishing greatly. ATR/B1900 are old and phased out, some operators still use D-8 because that is the exact plane they need but as a whole the market is being replaced by RJs. A tier aircraft relative to experience is a fantastic idea, you could get rich selling that idea! The problem is the crash happened on the smallest aircraft, not to say if it happened on a RJ900 the outcome would be different.

As of now there is plenty of pilots to suffice for normal to heavy workloads of the airlines. Sure, delays like the storms during the winter this year will always cause severe delays, more pilots would have caused a return back to normal operations at a quicker pace. Then what happens to them when all systems normal? Airlines are blaming the rule, as they should, but for what? To have a much greater reserve pilot population for a while?

The industry does have pay tiers, based on time spent with the company, mainly years. Maybe I miss understood you but, an FO has set responsibilities, as they gain more experience, time built, their responsibilities do not change until they are upgraded but their pay does increase. A first year FO on a CRJ has the same responsibilities as a 5 year FO. If there is a shortage half to what the critics are claiming then, you sir are correct. Many regionals reduce service, and airports, personal, service personal, all are lost. Airports become old relics and really will sit idle serving cargo and GA traffic and go off in history as that once bustling airport my dad took me too.

PhotoFinish 1
If they allow tiers for FOs between 9 and under part 135 and 100+ jets, then lower experience FO's wouldn't qualify to be on a CRJ in their first year. They've have to start with aircraft certified for fewer passengers.

I accept that jets may require different experience tiers than turboprops. That Colgan crash breaks this sensical approach, as they crashed a tprop.

But if the purpose if these stricter experience requirements is avoid crashes like that Colgan crash; then 50 hours spent in sims recovering from all kinds of stall conditions in airliners, would go much further in reducing potential crashes, than requiring lots of indiscriminate flying hours and ATP.

Air France 447 was a stall (from cruise FL380). Asiana 214 was a stall (from under 100, though they were descending rapidly with engines idled from way earlier, maybe 1800ft or higher). Colgan was also a stall on approach, and fell out of the sky.
mike SUT 1
AF 447 was a stall from altitude but no one in that cockpit knew that the pilot flying had the stick all the way aft the entire way down. That is one issue with sidestick controls. Unless you physically look across the cockpit at the stick and see what inputs are put in or look at the PFs PFD to see where the little command indicator is put, do you have an idea of what or where the stick is asking for. The Asiana may have stalled at 100 feet but there was a wealth of flying experience in that cockpit shared by the 3 pilots. Command culture probably played a larger part in that accident. The instructor was probably relying on the Captains previous experience to not get into a bad spot; the guy in the jump seat probably due to that command culture may have seen the situation deteriorating but was waiting for the IOE instructor to say something; the Captain (flying) said in an earlier interview he did NOT understand the autopilot system as well as he should have, what else didn't he understand? Maybe the autothrottle system too? Maybe he didn't understand that those huge underslung turbofans would push the nose way up when going from idle to GA thrust and that control force is needed to counter the initial pitch up. Colgan was a "cluster**&k"from the first go round. Who raises flaps (changes configuration), without command from the Captain/ Pilot flying, in a stall. Who raises the nose to recover from a slow speed situation or stall to gain airspeed.
PhotoFinish 1
Let's set the AF447 aside because the equipment contributed greatly to that fustercluck. First the pitot tubes froze over. Then the control inputs are not easily communicated between pilots by the plane. The FO drove the plane all the way into the ocean inadvertently without he nor anyone else knowing what he was doing.

But the other two incidents has low-time-in-type captains without sufficient comfort and confidence in commanding their aircraft. The captain in command should not only be familiar with his or her craft -- piloting -- but also their aircraft. If they're greenhorns on type, let them fly with experienced captain for a coule hundred hours so that they can learn the plane with a series of experts.

There is no excuse for any captain (or any pilot for that matter, but certainly captains) to be able to handle their plane manually if and when necessary (it becomes necessary without warning at the least opportune times) and should be able to recover from any number of stall conditions in which the plane may find itself.
Mark Kowalski 2
It is too bad that pilots caused these accidents, as sadly most do. AF as you say, was screwed with mis-information displayed, but if you have pitching up for a minute or two and the airspeed still increases, time to rethink. I would guess that a loaded 330 couldn't gain airspeed when full backpressure is being applied and engines at max at 38000.

The Asian PF had 10000 hours, he knew how to fly. Yet the experienced PIC, that had 3200 hours in the 777, waited until it was too late to warn the PF. He could have snatched the controls and averted it all together. Culture stopped him from doing that, how absurd. Avionic logic is tricky, especially in a big boy like the 777. When ever the avionics go south, I disconnect the AP and hand fly it. Then, either at training or another flight, try to recreate the event, or, all stone age like, pull out the manual to understand the situation. The cockpit culture of most Asian carriers is like the the culture of American cockpits during the 60's-80's. Gear up and shut up.

The Colgan crash is mind boggling. How could 2 pilots, which at least 1 ATP rated the other a commercial at the very least, not identify an impending stall and correct? Moderate to severe icing perhaps caused more than we think but simple operation of systems or an escape of conditions solves that. Puzzling to think what they were thinking or were not.

I agree with you Photo, more training is unusual situations is a step forward and a great idea. Complex systems/airframes demand complex thinking when the crap hits the fan. Yet when simply properly manually operating the aircraft, most problems are solved or become less of a problem. It sure is easy to quarterback from the hotel room but on a plus side, I have a good idea on how to avoid situations from these threads and unfortunately the accidents

PhotoFinish 1
You sound knowledgeable about these incidents, and that you're conscientiousin maintaining/ upgrading your skills to deal with unexpected situations. I'd be happy to have you at the controls.
preacher1 1
At least somebody else agrees with me on the culture/cockpit thing on 214. It just hasn't came out strong yet because nothing else has crashed. I would have thought that after 41 years, it would have gone away, but hasn't, and was easily recognizable when it reared it's head.
PhotoFinish 1
The NTSB agrees with you. It was one on the factors that was considered both in the interviews in the months after the crash, as well as at the hearings held in DC at the end of last year.

We'll see how much the Final Report acknowledges culture as a contributing factor.

There are many ways to skin a cat. The report could just look at the professional deficiencies, such as pilot performance (eg. failure of instructor pilot to take over early enough - due to his duty to do so, whether or not they consider the cultural implications of his stated desire not to FAIL his colleague-trainee) and inadequacy of training programs (to help deal with the lack of basic piloting skills eg. manual stick skills).

Though the NTSB doesn't normally shy away from tackling important issues. If culture gets sugar coated, it will be only due to pressure from the Administration.


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